America lost a queen, the “Queen of Soul”, Aretha Franklin. I remember the first time I heard one of her songs. I asked my father who she was. He said you are listening to America’s Queen, “The Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin”. I remember my father turning up the radio in his old “Square Back” Volkswagen, then singing along and clapping to her song “Respect”. I also remember my mother looking at him like he was possessed and trying to lower the radio. My father would brush her hand away and would say “No one lowers the Queen”.
I absolutely fell in love with her music the first time I heard it. The power and strength of her voice gave me chills up and down my spine. Her music inspired me then and still inspires me today. Outside of the music she is just as inspirational to me as well, especially with her involvement in the civil rights movement and her philanthropic generosity.
Image via Atlantic Records
Aretha was born to preacher and civil rights activist Clarence L. Franklin(CL Franklin). Activism surrounded Franklin in her youth, which she quickly became actively engaged in. According to a Detroit Free Press interview with Reverend Jesse Jackson, she often used her talents to help further the civil rights movement. Franklin toured with Doctor King and fellow singer/activist Harry Belafonte. According to Reverend Jackson, Aretha helped make payroll several times when Dr. King was alive. That is just one of the many contributions Aretha provided to the “Civil Rights Movement” that changed America for the better.
Let’s not forget that Aretha was the first lady to be nominated to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She was also the recipient of 18 grammy awards, the singer at President Obama’s first presidential inauguration in 2009 and so much more. With all her accomplishments, she is truly a queen among queens.